Bolt Action: Third Edition is on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean that we’re slowing down in our miniature releases for our flagship game – quite the opposite! We’ve got a ton of awesome new kits lined up for Bolt Action over the coming months, and today we’re taking a look at the newest addition to the stable – US Rangers! These elite US infantrymen are a fantastic addition to any American Bolt Action collection, and a great way to start one if you don’t already play Americans!

Bolt Action - Plastic US Rangers
The new plastic US Rangers in all their glory!


Rogers' Rangers Standing Orders Plaque - Rogers Rangers Memorial
One of the plaques on the Rogers Rangers Memorial at the Rogers Island Visitor Center, Ft Edward, New York.

The history of the Army Rangers in the United States can be traced back as far as the 17th century, when small units were used as scouts during the wars between colonists and Native Americans. These early operations combined traditional Western methods of fighting with the hit-and-run tactics and fieldcraft used by the Native Americans, and were considered to be ‘ranging’ for the enemy – hence the name ‘Rangers’. Major Robert Rogers established ‘Rogers’ Rangers’ (incidentally, the subject of their own French Indian War Black Powder boxed set) in the mid-18th century and penned his ‘28 Rules of Ranging’ which are still taught to modern-day US Army Rangers. ‘Ranger’ units would continue to see ad-hoc service throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and the term was firmly ensconced in the American military lexicon by the 20th century.

By the time the United States entered the Second World War, the US Army was faced with many of the same problems that Britain had faced two years previously; such as how to be seen to be taking the fight to the enemy so as to maintain morale on the home front, whilst also striking terror into the ranks of the foe. Britain had addressed this problem in part with the establishment of the ‘Commandos’; elite, highly trained specialist raiding forces who used asymmetric methods of warfare. President Roosevelt was keen to adopt a similar approach and Colonel Lucian Truscott was sent to liaise with the British General Staff in spring 1942, to investigate the feasibility of creating American commando-style units.

Bolt Action - US Rangers crest the clifftop and surge towards enemy positions.
US Rangers crest the clifftop and surge towards enemy positions.

Truscott submitted his proposals in May 1942, including the use of the term ‘Ranger’ because: “the name Commandos rightfully belonged to the British, and we sought a name more typically American.” In June 1942, the 1st Ranger Battalion was assembled at Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, after a demanding two-week selection process whittled down thousands of volunteers to 700 men. These men began training in earnest at the British Commando Training Depot in Achnacarry, Scotland. 26 officers and 488 enlisted men successfully completed the training, including their Commanding Officer, Major William Darby. The Rangers were ready for action!

Rangers from 2nd Ranger Battalion demonstrate the rope ladders they used to scale Pointe du Hoc.
Rangers from 2nd Ranger Battalion demonstrate the rope ladders they used to scale Pointe du Hoc.

The US Rangers would forever be remembered for their daring assault on the cliff-top German gun battery at Pointe du Hoc, the guns of which could have potentially decimated the troops landing on the beaches on D-Day. Companies D, E and F of 2nd Rangers Battalion would scale the 100-foot-tall cliffs which the defenders considered to be impassable, using rocket-propelled grapnels to send up climbing ropes. Once atop the imposing cliffs, and under heavy German fire, they secured the battery site only to find that their intelligence was wrong and the lethal 15.5cm guns were no longer in position, having been moved 500 yards to the rear. Undeterred, the Rangers located and destroyed the guns before they could bring their deadly payload to bear on the incoming invasion force, then defended the high ground through a further 56 hours of relentless German counter-attack by the 352nd Infantry Division.

The Rangers were immortalised in such movies as Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day for their actions on Omaha Beach, and it was in this crucible that their now-famous motto would be coined. Having landed on Dog-White sector at the western end of the beach, pinned down with the 29th Infantry Division, General Norman Costa found himself in a critical situation. At the point of calling off the assault he turned to a Ranger, and is reported to have exhorted – “Rangers, lead the way!”  Along with the 5th Rangers, A and B companies of 2nd Rangers forced their way off the beach under murderous fire, outflanking the defenders and creating the opening needed for American troops to push inland.

Bolt Action - Outflank! US Rangers pounce upon a 15cm German gun emplacement.
Outflank! US Rangers pounce upon a 15cm German gun emplacement.

On the Table

These actions, and countless more throughout the course of the war, would earn the Rangers a deserved reputation as elite troops, willing to go further and do more than the average soldier, and this is well represented on the Bolt Action tabletop. Featuring extensively in the D-Day: The US Sector campaign book, and a mainstay of US players looking for hard-hitting Veteran infantry to build their force around, Rangers are a fantastic choice for any American army, whether included as a single unit to ‘stiffen’ Regular troops, or as the core of a small, elite force of Veterans. Their aptly named Rangers Lead the Way! special rule allows Ranger squads to make a Run move after deployment, but before the game begins, allowing them to quickly seize important cover or advance on vital objectives, and putting you one step ahead of your opponent. They’re festooned with all the usual American goodies too – just what you need to take the fight into the heart of Germany.

Bolt Action US Rangers Sprue Component List
The sprue component list insert, as found in the new boxed set.

With such an impressive history and set of rules, it’s only natural that these elite soldiers would get their very own plastic boxed set. We previously offered a set of our old plastic US Infantry with metal upgrade parts (now on last chance to buy!) to represent the Rangers (and some of the famous faces from Saving Private Ryan), but the Rangers now take their rightful place alongside their colleagues with a glorious new full plastic sprue! Packed with all the options you’ll need to storm the beaches – and the tabletop – and designed for quick, easy assembly, you can get a Ranger force ready for battle in no time at all.

The fantastic sculpts are a brilliant opportunity to flex your painting muscles, and the keen-eyed will no doubt notice the abundance of heads on the sprue. For the first time, we’ve moved what was once a metal head upgrade sprue into plastic, allowing you to build the stars of Saving Private Ryan like never before – or simply have some ‘famous faces’ dotted around your army!

Bolt Action - Us Rangers Saving Private Ryan alternative head options.

It’s time to lead the way – get your new plastic Rangers boxed set today, and prepare to hit the beach!

The New Plastic Bolt Action US Rangers Boxed Set
The New Plastic Bolt Action US Rangers Boxed Set
1 comment
  1. I love the set, but I do hope that there is a way to correctly fix the decals. Too many incorrect ones including the MP bands which are British, not American at all. The weapons and gear should have been researched better.

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